Durham cancer research champion loses his own battle

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Thirteen-year-old Howell Brown has passed away, buried days before his birthday. (WTVD)

A champion for cancer prevention research has lost his own battle. Thirteen-year-old Howell Brown has passed away, buried days before his birthday.

Loved ones gathered Wednesday afternoon at Duke Chapel for a Celebration of Life service.

Duke Head Football Coach David Cutcliffe gave the eulogy and said his life was forever changed after meeting the teen years ago at the Ronald McDonald House.

"He was everyone's special gift from God," said Cutcliffe. "He found a way to make life better for each one of us."

A few months back, Brown offered some advice to the team during practice.

Cutcliffe said, "And I quote, 'No matter how hard it gets, no matter how much it hurts, you can't ever give up.' And they just stood there. They knew what he said was truth."

Brown passed away Friday after a courageous fight.

READ MORE: HONORARY NC TROOPER PASSES AWAY

He battled stage 4 brain cancer for the last five years and has undergone countless chemotherapy treatments.

Several community leaders have rallied around the teen through his journey. Howell was an honorary sheriff in several counties and was also named an honorary state trooper.

He was laid to rest with full honors in a private burial.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be given in Howell's name to the Ronald McDonald House of Durham & Wake.

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